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When Books Fly, Wikipedia Homework, Why Online Education?

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Watch the 15 minute short film, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011).” Click this link to go to Skip Prichard’s (@SkipPrichard) blog post, When Books Fly: Lessons from Lessmore | Skip Prichard Leadership Insight.  The story in the film is so fantastic and well-produced that I wanted to pass it on. The short would serve as an easy lead-in to discussion and/or a short essay-writing assignment.

Wikipedia as homework?

Finally! A couple of years ago, I attended a Professional Development course about using educational technology in the classroom, and the speaker gave some compelling reasons for giving Wikipedia a second chance instead of sneering at it as less than academically accurate. One of the reasons he gave for his opinion is the existence of a large, world-wide body of experts looking over the shoulders of those foolhardy or brave enough to write about a subject for Wikipedia. And, he was right.

Wikipedia has the potential to be our collective memory bank–a self-correcting source for information about nearly every subject we can name. When I say “self-correcting,” I mean that if the original writer gets something wrong, then someone, somewhere is going to challenge the information. A sort of built-in peer review.

You will be interested to read For a Growing Number of College Students, Wikipedia Is Homework by Liz Dwyer for GOOD (@GOOD). She describes an on-going effort by professors to increase the accuracy of Wikipedia by assigning their students to assist in the editing of articles found on the site.

Why is Online Education Important?

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In the future, and the not-too-distant future at that, universities around the world will begin to understand that only those institutions who deliver the best online learning will survive. In the past, it wasn’t so unusual for a student to go to the trouble and expense of moving to the campus of a major university in a foreign city in order to complete their studies. However, in the future, students won’t have to travel around the world to attend classes and collaborate with teachers on campus in order to master course content.

What does this mean to parents and teachers?

For parents, it may mean the search is on to reduce the cost of a university education for their student through online higher education, cutting out the excessive campus fees, room and board, etc. of the on-campus experience. Certainly, for the older student, the working student, this is already true.

For teachers, it means mastering the skills necessary to teach online. There will always be a place for hands-on, teacher to student learning, especially in the lower grades; however, more and more, institutions of higher learning will have to compete to draw students into their programs. The only way to do this in our connected, consumer-driven environment is to offer outstanding online learning opportunities. And, the only way to provide those outstanding opportunities is to prepare their teachers with the tools and training to make it happen.

Please see New Online Teaching Model: Sage-on-the-side? by Debbie Morrison for more on this topic. At the end of the post, Ms. Morrison has included a list of skills online educators must possess and a video by COFA entitled, “Why is Online Education Important?

If you have taken an online education course or teach online courses, share your comments on online education. 

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About the Author

Kathrese McKee started life as a Systems Engineer at EDS, spent time in real estate, taught middle grade Reading and ESL in Texas, and settled down to blog and write speculative fiction for Young Adults.

As a teacher, she fell in love with books written for Teens and Young Adults. Her favorite books are “coming of age” stories about young people on the difficult road of self-discovery.


  1. Thanks for the inclusion in your thoughtful post.

  2. Yes, i found the blog really interesting shared the real-time concepts of online education and about the future of education. I do agree with your word that only the quality Online education providers will be live in the future. Loved to read your blog. Thank you for sharing the blog, keep blogging.
    Ashley recently posted..Why K-12 Online Schools are so popular?My Profile

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